Fan Friday Featured Guest Blog With Cathy West – Write What You Know?

This Fan Friday we welcome Author Cathy West. Leave a comment to enter the drawing for a free copy of her new novel. Stop by and visit Catherine West’s blog to learn more about her other novels.

Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two college-aged children.

Catherine is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary. Catherine loves to connect with her readers.


Write What You Know?

You’ve heard the saying haven’t you? How many of us actually do that?

Everything Claire wants
seems to be beyond her reach…

If you’re a lawyer or a doctor, I guess you could make a career out of writing legal thrillers or medical suspense novels. It’s been done. But I’m not so sure the majority of writers really do write what they know. They may draw on their own feelings, emotions, past hurts etc… to flesh out the characters in their stories, but if you’re writing fiction and you’re a stay at home mom, I’d wager the last thing you want to write about is a trip to the grocery store or how you had to wash the dog for the third time after he rolled in something pretty disgusting.

I think what they really mean by this write what you know thing is pretty simple. You know how to love? Write about it. You know how to forgive or not? Write about it. Use the emotions God gave you, search your soul and examine your heart. And don’t be afraid of the outcome.

About twelve years ago, I embarked on a search for my birth mother. Relinquished as a newborn, I always knew I was adopted, but never really wanted to know where I came from. I had wonderful parents, a happy childhood. Sure, I was curious, but not enough to do anything about it. Until one day when I woke with an inexplicable desire to know. My search was quick, but certainly not painless. At the end of it I had an incredible story with God’s fingerprints all over it

Write what you know.

Really, God? I didn’t want to. Parts of that journey were painful. I wasn’t ready to re-live them, let alone share them with the world if the story ever got published. But eventually, God showed me how I could use what I’d gone through to create a work of fiction with very real emotion threaded throughout. And thus, Hidden in the Heart was born.

Writing at soul-deep level is not easy. Sometimes we don’t want to share those intimate transparent moments when emotions are stripped bare with total strangers. Not surprisingly, you don’t see it very often. But when you can do it, if you can pull it off, it works. And it is healing.

I wouldn’t have wanted to write this book any other way. While my character’s stories are pretty different from what I went through, there are a few scenes that are very real. Honest. Those who know me best will have no trouble picking them out. Truthfully, I was a bit scared when I heard this book would be published. But today I’m extremely thankful. Because it is a story of God’s grace. It’s a story of forgiveness, redemption and healing. And hope.

Yes, in a way it is my story. But I pray it will become yours too. Because we can all use a little grace, right?

Do you write what you know? Have you told a story that you didn’t want to, but knew you needed to? 









About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

7 thoughts on “Fan Friday Featured Guest Blog With Cathy West – Write What You Know?

  1. dtopliff says:

    How interesting, and I do write what I know (mostly the U.S. and Canada’s Pacific Northwest.) I want to know more. I’m also a grad. of Univ. of Toronto in English. Thanks. I’ll look into Cathy and her books.

  2. Hi Cathy!
    Ohhh, now I’m intrigued about HIDDEN IN THE HEART and want to read it. Well done! It’s those raw moments of our lives that we feel the strongest about that can lead to the best writing!
    Yes, I agree with the phrase, ‘write what you know.’ I’m currently working on a suspense novel that has bits of my son’s journey in it. Sometimes I also worry about when it’s published because I fear people who are close to me will see bits of me and my passion in it. But, I decided that God put it on my heart to write because it’s a topic that’s real, so hopefully readers will connect with the main character.
    Congratulations on launching another book!

  3. Great post. I think our characters are a sum total of what we know and have experienced. We put parts of ourselves in them. Great seeing you here at ACFW!

  4. jackielayton says:

    My imagination takes me to things I don’t know. So far I’ve woven what I do know with what I don’t know.
    Cathy, I’m so excited to learn about your new story! Thanks for sharing.

    Michelle, it was so great to meet you in Dallas!

    • Cathy West says:

      Ah, Jackie – did we miss each other again??? There are always sooo many people at conference and I always learn who was there after the fact. I would have loved meeting you. 😦

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